A critical turning point in a career is when you begin to get calls from executive recruiters. MBA students often don’t realize that once they land at their post-MBA firms, their next placement will likely occur through an executive recruiter (especially if they go to a blue-chip company perceived as having skill identifying and developing talent). Executive recruiters are hired by companies to identify and place top talent, becoming the primary conduit through which many executive roles are accessed.

Consequently, how young executives develop and manage these relationships can influence future career options. To better understand the key mistakes junior executives make when engaging with executive recruiters, I turned to Umesh Ramakrishnan, a Co-CEO at Kingsley Gate Partners who has placed members of the boards of directors, CEOs, CFOs and other senior management positions in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Below is his insight.

Kimberly Whitler: What are the key mistakes that junior executives make when talking to ERs for the first time?

Umesh Ramakrishnan: Junior executives tend to be more cagey with information and say things like “at the appropriate time I can disclose that,” which means they haven’t yet built robust relationships with executive search firms. That is a big “tell” for an executive search consultant. The moment someone says something like that when asked about either their compensation, personal situation in terms of relocating, or achievements, the recruiter instantly knows that the candidate does not get approached often by a retained search consultant. This sends an unfortunate signal that the candidate may not yet be ready to work with executive recruiters. So, the junior executive unwittingly disqualifies him/herself by being restrictive with information that more experienced executives know is kept in confidence by a consultant.

Whitler: Is there any way that